The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 should provide better fitness tracking for everyone. I have sorted that out in this review and immediately listed the pros and cons of the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 for you.
Xiaomi Mi Band 5
Xiaomi is no longer an unknown manufacturer for most of us. Various products of this brand are available on the market, such as smartphones, smart home products, smartwatches and fitness trackers. In the latter group, the Mi Band is a successful fitness tracker that you can purchase for a low price. Every year Xiaomi releases a new version of this Mi Band and the company is constantly trying to launch new features.
This year Xiaomi announced the Mi Band 5, again with some improvement over its predecessor the Mi Band 4. For example, there is now a slightly larger screen, moving dials, magnetic charger, as well as additional fitness tracking functions. Below I list the pros and cons of this Mi Band 5. After that, I would like to tell you my opinion about whether this fitness tracker is worth the money you spend on it.
Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Pros
A beautiful touch-sensitive AMOLED screen
The Mi Band 5 is equipped with a 1.1-inch touch-sensitive AMOLED screen. Thanks to the AMOLED screen technology, the LEDs are switched off with black colors. This makes black really black and the other colors are nicely displayed on the screen. The touch-sensitive screen also responds well to touches, making navigation on the watch smooth. If you swipe left or right, you will see widgets. If you swipe from top to bottom, you will also see some shortcuts. Nevertheless, this screen also has some disadvantages, but you will read this later in the negatives.
A simple and comfortable design
The design of the Mi Band 5 has changed little compared to its predecessor. With a weight of about 23 grams and the narrow design, the tracker never really bothered me on the wrist. It also did not disturb sleep. The design is very simple, which gives it a less premium appearance.
I personally would be less inclined to combine these with, for example, a tailored suit. You can replace the straps with other ‘third-party’ straps, which various online stores offer. This gives you a little more flexibility to combine the Mi Band 5 with your clothing style.
A magnetic charger
A big advance over the Mi Band 4 is the magnetic charger. This means you no longer have to remove Mi Band 5 from the watch strap before you can load the fitness tracker. The magnet is strong enough so that it does not come off the tracker with the slightest tap.
Good battery life
The Mi Band 5 is equipped with a 125 mAh battery. With this, I had no problem continuing for about 12 days without loading with 2 to 3 running workouts. Here was the ‘continuous’ heart rate measurement to measure every minute and I used the fitness tracker while sleeping.
Many setting options
I must confess that it is the first time for me that I came into contact with a Mi Band. I was therefore shocked at how much this Mi Band 5 can do and what you can set within the Mi Fit app. For example, you can set the widgets that you can view on the tracker, set the heart rate control and even share the heart rate of your activity with other devices. Unfortunately, I have not yet gotten this last function working.
Notifications and other smart functions
As with most fitness trackers or sports watches, you can have your smartphone notifications forwarded to the tracker on the Mi Band 5. Handy to avoid having to reach for your smartphone all the time. In the app, you can set which notifications you want to receive on the tracker. Unfortunately, you can’t use ‘quick replies’ to reply to messages, which is the case with Fitbit fitness trackers.
In addition, there are also a few other smart functions including the possibility to adjust the watch face of the tracker. From the settings within the Mi Fit app, you can go to the built-in store to download new watch faces for the Mi Band 5.
As soon as you press ‘change watch face’, the watch face will immediately appear on your tracker. For this, the Bluetooth connection must be present between the tracker and your smartphone. You can change dials on the Mi Band itself. You can then choose from the built-in or your downloaded watch faces. You can personalize the built-in dials yourself by indicating which parameters you want to see.
In addition to notifications and watch faces, there are also other smart functions such as Alarm, Weather, Find Device, World clock, Timer, Camera control, and the possibility to control the music that is playing on your smartphone.
Extensive fitness tracking
I must admit that I was very pleasantly surprised by the extensive fitness tracking that this Mi Band 5 does. You will not only be able to use this as a pedometer. Due to the combination of the Mi Band 5 and the accompanying Mi Fit app, you always have a real coach with you, as it were, who gives you the advice to follow a healthy lifestyle.
Thanks to the built-in heart rate monitor, the Mi Band 5 monitors your heart rate ‘continuously’ in addition to the number of steps or activities. Via the Mi Fit app you can see a graph about your heart rate variability, what your resting heart rate is and how long you may have been moving in different heart rate zones.
From this heart rate monitoring, Mi Band will determine how your stress level was via the heart rate variability. Personally, I think that this stress assessment is not always correct. For example, he will indicate during an activity that you are under a lot of stress because your heart rate is high. This is a problem that we see with many fitness trackers that measure stress in this way.
If I compare this stress measurement with the measurement of my Garmin sports watch, I do notice that these scores are not far apart.
Compared to the Mi Band 4, this fifth version has more extensive sleep monitoring. The Mi Band 5 now also monitors when you were in REM sleep. Obviously I cannot say if all the sleep phases I slept in according to the Mi band are correct, but the hours when I fell asleep and was awake seem to be correct. After each night’s rest, you will also receive a sleep score, with any advice to improve your sleep.
The new trend in fitness trackers is not only to motivate you to take your 10,000 steps per day, for example. WHO (World Health Organization) recommends active exercise for 150 minutes per week. Fitbit recently announced the Active Zones along with their Fitbit Charge 4. Where you can collect more points by exercising more intensively.
Xiaomi is doing something similar to their Mi Band 5 called PAI (Personal Active Intelligence). With this Xiaomi collects all data about your heart rate in combination with your daily activity, which is converted into a PAI value. The goal is to reach a value of 100 per week. During my testing period, I noticed that by exercising a few times a week, you can easily achieve a score of 100 PIA. A nice motivator to encourage you to exercise.
More sport profiles
Besides tracking your daily movement, you can also use Mi Band 5 when practicing some sports. Compared to the Mi Band 5, a few sports modes have now been added. You can now use the Mi Band 5 for running, walking, cycling, exercise bike, treadmill, rope-skipping, swimming, rowing machine, cross trainer, freestyle and yoga. This will allow the person who likes to move a bit to use the Mi Band 5 while practicing his or her favorite sport.
I myself used this Mi Band during some running training sessions and cycling laps, where I could see on the Mi Band 5 what distance I had covered, what speed I had, my calories burned, what my heart rate was and even in which heart rate zone it was. I think the addition of the heart rate zones is a positive point because it allows you to train more purposefully.
During my workouts, I also noticed that the heart rate monitor worked fairly accurately. I compared these with my Garmin sports watch and saw that they ran very smoothly during training. After each workout, I got to see a nice report within the Mi Fit app, which gave me some extra information.
Thanks to the water-resistance of 5ATM, you can also use the Mi Band 5 while swimming. According to Xiaomi, some swimming strokes have been added, which are automatically recognized. However, in this special COVID-19 period I do not feel like going to a group in the municipal swimming pool, and I have not tested the swimming function.
Although sports with this Mi Band 5 fitness tracker is possible, I do not recommend using it as a sports watch. This immediately brings me to the disadvantages of this fitness tracker.
Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Cons
No competition feeling
As I said, the Mi Fit app provides advice on how to live a healthier life. In addition, I receive notifications on the Mi Band 5 when I have reached goals and it indicates if I sit still for too long. Still, I find that using this fitness tracker does not reward me enough when I reach my goals. For example, there are no badges to be won, as is the case with Garmin and Fitbit. In addition, I cannot enter ‘virtual’ competitions where I compete against myself or other Mi Band users.
Screen too small
Although it is a sharp AMOLED screen, I think 1.1 inch is a bit too small to be able to read everything properly or to receive large messages. I noticed that with some dials, which have a lot of information on them, it became difficult to read everything properly. I also had this problem with the training screen. This can of course also be my eyes, but certainly, something to take into account. In addition, I sometimes found the brightness in direct sunlight insufficient to read the screen.
To keep track of your distance and speed while exercising, the Mi Band 5 uses the GPS sensor of your smartphone. That is a smart choice from Xiaomi because it can limit the costs because there is no GPS sensor in the Mi Band 5. However, this does bring some disadvantages. If you want to use positioning while exercising, you will have to bring your smartphone. A disadvantage for athletes who prefer to exercise without too much technology.
Another bigger disadvantage is that you will not get accurate data when the connections between your smartphone and the Mi Band 5 are lost. This happened once during my training, so the distance and speed traveled were incorrect. The Mi Band 5 continues to determine your distance traveled by the steps you take, but this is not entirely correct.
For example, I had done training in which my Garmin watch with built-in GPS chip indicated that it had run 10 kilometers and the Mi Band 5 only registered 8 kilometers. Likewise, the pace was no longer kept up.
Less suitable for the recreational athlete
The Mi Band 5 is a fitness tracker and not a sports watch. Although it allows you to exercise with it, I would not recommend it for the recreational athlete. Certainly not if you like to improve your sports performance. As I said, I like the fact that heart rate zones are visible during exercise, but they cannot be personalized. These deviated extremely from the heart rate zones I use on my Garmin sports watch. When my sports watch indicated that I was training in the green zone, the Mi Band 5 already indicated that I was exercising in the red (peak) zone.
Since you cannot adjust the heart rate zones yourself to your own heart rate values, I find this parameter on the fitness tracker too unreliable. Of course, this is a fitness tracker and you will not receive any sports advice that you do receive from brands such as Garmin and Polar. You also cannot load training plans on the tracker.
Mi Fit app
As I indicated in the plus points, you get a lot of information about your health parameters and your daily exercise. Unfortunately, I did not find the Mi Fit app very user-friendly. You really have to search for some parameters within the app before you get a clear overview. As soon as I open an app, I would like to immediately get an overview of all my health parameters, as Fitbit and Garmin do.
The Mi Band 5 is a great fitness tracker for its price. The design is simple and light, so you barely feel that you are wearing it during the day and while sleeping. The battery life is more than enough to get through the week or even longer.
Thanks to the combination of the Mi Band 5 and the Mi Fit app, you get a comprehensive overview of your health parameters, such as daily movement, heart rate via the accurate heart rate monitor and sleep monitoring. In addition, the Mi Fit app will guide you as a kind of health coach. This way you get advice when you don’t get enough sleep and your PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence) keeps an eye on whether you are moving intensively enough.
I can certainly recommend this Mi Band 5 for people who like to be more concerned with a healthy lifestyle. In addition, you do not have to spend a fortune (39.99 euros) when purchasing this tracker. Do you sometimes sit still for too long at your desk or in your easy chair? Then the Mi Band 5 will point this out to you. If you achieve your goals, you will also receive a notification on the fitness tracker congratulating you on this.
If you still need that extra push, you may want to take a look at a competitor such as Fitbit, where you can compete against others to take the most steps, for example.
Are you someone who also likes to run around without losing yourself in your sport and would you rather leave your smartphone at home? Then the Mi Band 5 is less suitable because it uses connected GPS. Then look a little further at brands such as Fitbit and Garmin that have wearables with built-in GPS chips such as the Fitbit Charge 4 and Garmin Venu. Are you a ‘die-hard’ athlete, who is performance-oriented, then be sure to check out sports watches such as Polar Vantage M, Polar Grit X, or the Garmin Venu.
Buy Xiaomi Mi Band 5
The Xiaomi Mi band 5 is for sale in the Benelux for a suggested retail price of 39.99 euros. You buy this fitness tracker including through Xiaomi store.